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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Athens, Georgia » U.S. National Poultry Research Center » Toxicology & Mycotoxin Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #399133

Research Project: Strategies to Reduce Mycotoxin Contamination in Animal Feed and its Effect in Poultry Production Systems

Location: Toxicology & Mycotoxin Research

Title: Campylobacter jejuni in poultry: pathogenesis and control strategies

item HAKEEM, AL WALID - University Of Georgia
item FATHIMA, SHAHNA - University Of Georgia
item SELVARAJ, RAMESH - University Of Georgia
item Shanmugasundaram, Revathi

Submitted to: Microorganisms
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/25/2022
Publication Date: 10/28/2022
Citation: Hakeem, A., Fathima, S., Selvaraj, R., Shanmugasundaram, R. 2022. Campylobacter jejuni in poultry: pathogenesis and control strategies. Microorganisms. 10(11):2134.

Interpretive Summary: The most prevalent food-borne illness in humans is campylobacteriosis. Consumption of poultry meat contaminated with the bacterium Campylobacter jejuni is associated with this illness. High incidence rates of C. jejuni are found in commercial poultry farms, and effective colonization of the birds can occur with only a few dozen bacterial cells. Chickens typically contract the disease between the ages of 2 and 4 weeks and remain colonized until maturity. The bacterium is a persistent problem with poultry, and control is complicated by the shift to antibiotic-free production systems. More effective strategies are therefore required to reduce the prevalence of C. jejuni in broiler farms. This review article focuses on the bacterium’s morphology, source of transmission, and pathogenesis in poultry, while also addressing available pre-harvest strategies to decrease C. jejuni colonization in broilers.

Technical Abstract: Campylobacter jejuni is the leading cause of human food-borne illness associated with poultry consumption. C. jejuni is highly prevalent in commercial poultry farms, where horizontal transmission from the environment is considered to be the primary source of C. jejuni. The avian intestinal mucus is highly sulfated and sialylated compared to the human mucus modulating C.jejuni pathogenicity into a near commensal bacteria in poultry. Birds are usually infected from two to four weeks of age and remain colonized until they reach market age. A small dose of C.jejuni (around 35 CFU/ml) is sufficient for successful colonization in the chicken intestine. In U.S, C. jejuni is a persistent problem with poultry because chickens are raised under antibiotic-free environments. Hence, strategies are required to reduce C.jejuni prevalence on broilers’ farms in addition to on-farm control strategies. Probiotics, prebiotics, synbiotics, organic acids, bacteriophages, and bacteriocins supplementation can improve gut health and competitively exclude C.jejuni load in broilers that are addressed in this review. Most of the mentioned strategies showed promising results, however, they are not fully implemented in poultry production. Additional studies and efforts are needed to improve and implement C.jejuni mitigation strategies in poultry production.